Wednesday, April 08, 2009

More Hiking the Grand Canyon with Kids!

After arriving at the bottom of the Grand Canyon we spent two days and two nights enjoying the scenery, the lemonade and beer and the geology. It was fantastic.

This is the entrance to the Phantom Ranch area. The mule rides end here after 10 long miles on the trail. The only difference between hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and riding a mule to the bottom is which part of your body hurts at the end of the day!

Helen helps Jared and Cara with their Junior Ranger questions on the lawn in front of the canteen. Both of them excelled and were sworn in by Ranger Pat later on in the ranger station.

Here is a shot of our camp as Helen, Cara, and Jared prepare lunch. It is a beautiful campground near Phantom Ranch as many readers of this blog will know.

From the bottom of the canyon, one can look up 5,000 vertical feet and see the South Rim near Mather Point. Amazing to think that all those hundreds of people are up there looking into the canyon.

We found this cobble of Redwall Limestone near the entrance to the campground. You can easily see a fossil within it, which may belong to a sponge (Stromataporid) or a coral (Michelinia).

Here is a view of the calm waters of Bright Angel Creek. This is such a wonderful little stream - too cold to swim in this time of the year but at other times, it is a welcome respite from the heat. Although this creek is placid today, take a look at the next two photos for evidence of its prior fury.

A mass of boulders located on the delta of Bright Angel Creek near the Colorado River. This massive delta has pushed the river channel against the south wall of the inner gorge. How did these boulders get here.....?

... Don inspects the truncated edge of the delta deposit along the banks of the Colorado River. These boulders were entrained in a massive debris flow that roared down Bright Angel Canyon perhaps a few hundred thousand years ago. I have seen this deposit upstream where it is over 75 feet thick. This was a single flood event, caused by the catastrophic collapse of rock during wetter, Ice Age conditions. It moved down Bright Angel Canyon like a slurry of rock and mud.

As we left the Ranch, we looked back along the River Trail and said our goodbyes to Zoroaster Temple.

On day four, we left Indian Gardens and began the final 3,000 foot climb to the South Rim.

Here Ann looks at the trace of the Bright Angel Fault. The Toroweap Fm. is on the left (east) and has been down-thrown about 150 feet relative to the uplifted Coconino Sandstone on the right (west). When one turns around 180 degrees from this view....

... this is what you see. Two canyons carved along the line of the fault. Garden Canyon in the foreground and in the distance, Bright Angel Canyon back into the North Rim. The fault surface is clearly seen on the left side of the photo. A spectacular finish to a wonderful hike. Many thanks to Don, Ann, Cara, Jared, and Helen for being great trail mates!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sounds and looks like you all had a great time Wayne. I look forward to hiking the canyon again this spring during training. Hope to see you on the south side.

  3. I think doing this with kids would be a blast, but I think my days of hiking the canyon are passed. I am curious, though, what is the evidence that the remnant boulder pile is from one event?

  4. Lockwood:

    Thanks for the comment! Debris flows are turbulent and do not show any lamination in the resulting deposits. Thus, boulders are interbedded with sand and clay and there is no stratification. I make the assumption that this fan at the delta of Bright Angel Creek is the same deposit as what I see 6 miles up in the canyon. It has the same ratio of Supai and Redwall clasts. So I do make some assumptions but they are educated ones. Thanks, Wayne

  5. Great post Wayne. I recall you pointing out those debris flows up canyon last May. I didn't remember looking at it down by the river. Will have to check that out this summer when we bring our kids to the canyon for their first taste!


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